A Rejoinder on 9/11

Against the Current, No. 115, March/April 2005

Jack Ceder

[Jack Ceder’s review of David Ray Griffin’s book The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Olive Branch Press, 2004) appeared in our previous issue, accompanied by an editorial note “A Reichstag Fire on Steroids? A Dissenting View” (ATC 114, 40-43). The following is Ceder’s rebuttal.]

FIRST, I WOULD like to challenge the following statement, written by David Finkel in response to my review article “Another Look at 9/11:”

“I believe that some (though certainly not all) of the ‘scam theory’ allegations — notably that flight 93 was shot down, and that the WTC Twin Towers couldn’t have collapsed from structural damage caused by the fires from the crashing planes — have been fairly refuted.”

I’m puzzled about the source of his belief that these two allegations have been “fairly refuted.” Consider the case of the collapses of the WTC buildings: It is true that the agency FEMA came up with a theory explaining the collapse of the twin towers but couldn’t account for Building 7.

The Internet sources I cited are full of discussions and criticisms of the official story. However, there has never been an attempt to answer the critics of the official story on the building collapses. The 9/11 Commission refused to address the key issues. Here is what Griffin in his new book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omission and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, 2005) says about the report:

“Many features of the Kean-Zelikow Commission’s treatment of the collapses of the WTC buildings — its failure to discuss the fact that fire has never before brought down steel-frame high-rise buildings, its distortion of the truth about the core of the Twin Towers, its failure even to mention the collapse of Building #7, its failure to discuss the similarities of those collapses with those caused by controlled demolition, its failure to deal with the provocative statements by Silverstein and Giuliani… — give the impression of an intent to cover up facts which do not fit the Commission’s assumption that the attacks of 9/11 were planned and executed solely by members of al-Qaeda.”

Next consider the demise of Flight 93: The proponents of the inside job theory all believe that Flight 93 was shot down. (I did not even bring up this event in my article because of space limitations.)

The evidence is very strong. First of all, the debris was scattered over a large area with a diameter of eight miles, which is indicative of a mid-air explosion, not a simple crash. Other evidence as listed by Griffin is:

“1. Multiple evidence that the shoot- down authorization was given before 10:00, perhaps about 9:45.

“2. Reports that after this authorization was transmitted, an F-16 was sent after UA 93.

“3. Reports from CBS News, a flight controller, and Paul Wolfowitz that Flight 93 was being tailed by an F-16.

“4. The reported statement by General Montague Winfield seemed to say that he and others in the NMCC expected Flight 93 to be shot down.

“5. Rumors within the military that one of its F-16s shot down an airliner in Pennsylvania.

“6. Reports from people in UA flight 93 and on the ground suggesting that it was downed by a missile.”

Griffin continues:

“The Kean-Zelikow Commission, in trying to refute the conclusion (i.e. the”shot down” theory), did not take on any of this evidence directly, or even mention it. The Commission instead rested its case on two claims: (1) the claim that the military did not even know that Flight 93 had been hijacked until after it crashed; (2) the claim that the shoot-down authorization announced by Vice President Cheney came after Flight #3 had crashed.

“Given the complete failure of the Kean-Zelikow report to show that the US military could not have shot down Flight 93, combined with its failure to refute any of the strands of evidence supporting the conclusion that the military did shoot it down, this probability remains unrefuted. Indeed, we now have additional evidence for its truth: the very fact that the Kean-Zelikow commission, besides failing to confront any of the evidence directly, engaged in such obvious distortions in its desperate attempt to rule out this possibility.”

In short, the main theses of the scam theory remain unrefuted. Its critics simply refuse to confront the physical evidence. The government answers with lies, distortions and evasions.

Finally I would like to comment on the editor’s musings on the implausibility of the scam theory. Somehow he believes that scam theory necessarily implies that the scam conspirators intended to destroy the institutions of bourgeois democracy.

I find such a conclusion groundless as well as ludicrous. He apparently accepts the official story that Flight 93 was headed for the Capitol or White House and somehow crashed in the struggle of some passengers to take over. The evidence shows, however, that Flight 93 was shot down and all the scam theorists believe it was all part of the script.

Moreover, the damage at the WTC and the Pentagon (which was quite minimal) hardly warrant the term “destruction of institutions.” There are plenty of reasons (which I acknowledged and discussed in the article) to find scam theory implausible but this one, when deprived of the assumption that Flight 93 was not shot down, falls apart.

ATC 115, March-April 2005